Warsaw Stories and Tips

A Park Once Owned by a Prince

Park behind the National Museum Photo, Warsaw, Poland

After visiting the National Museum in Warsaw I needed to be in the open air and away from traffic and people. The museum is very interesting but claustrophobic and although I enjoyed my visit I wanted to be out walking. I didn’t know that there was a park behind the museum which runs down the Vistula slope near to Książęca Street. I am not sure if this park has a name, the only sign I saw was one saying that the park belonged to the museum but it didn’t have its own grand title. Many, many years ago the park belonged to Prince Kazimierz Poniatowski, they were his gardens were he strolled and hunted. Kazimierz was the oldest brother of King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Książęca Street translated into English is Princes Street, named after Prince Kazimierz.

I entered on the high slope after turning left at the Three Crosses Square close to the ING bank headquarters. This is situated behind the National Museum. The ground of the slope was packed with crispy autumn leaves and because it has been so dry recently the leaves crackled and popped as you walked on them. If it had been raining this would have been a different matter and could potentially be very slippery.

Below the slope is a very busy road with hectic traffic, you can hear the cars roar as they speed down the road towards the traffic lights. I knew that there was also another park in this vicinity, the Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz Park. I promised myself that I would visit this tree laden park on the same day as I had not visited this one before.
As I walked slowly through the trees I came to a series of very old steps set into the ground. They were very narrow and curved down towards a flat piece of ground where I spotted a small pond. I walked sideways down the steps, breathed in the air and looked out towards the pond and the weeping willow that surrounded the old water tower.

The water tower is open to the public and has many taps inside. You are allowed to take as many bottles as you like to fill up with water. Drinking water isn’t very good in Warsaw, I always drink bottled water and I advise all visitors to do the same. Public water buildings can be found all over the city but I haven’t seen one as attractive as this stone tower with troughs outside to catch the water from the lion’s heads that act as taps.

Walking past the tower I noticed a statue of Polish novelist, Eliza Orzeszkowa. I recognised this lady from Praski Park (a park in Praga, Warsaw that shares the same name as me). The statue is in good condition, the pose is the same as the one in Praski Park complete with a small wreath of flowers that has been laid at the foot of the statue.

From here I turned back and walked over to the side of the park that was situated away from the road. It was so peaceful with only the sound of birdsong and the odd dog barking as he retrieved his stick. Not many people were visible, only a young couple sat on a bench holding hands, talking and an elderly gentleman walking towards the arches of Poniatowski Bridge. I followed the man as I love the style of this bridge and wanted to take some photographs of its towers and arches.

I spent about 25 minutes in the park and then realised that it extended across the road on the other side. I did venture to the other part but it was very hilly and the path didn’t look too good. As I wanted to visit the Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz Park, time was getting on plus I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I decided to turn back to get to my final destination before the day came to a close.

I enjoyed my walk around the park with no name, it was serene. I loved all the trees and the reflections in the pond. The water tower is an attractive addition too as is the view of Poniatowski Bridge and its arches.

Address: Książęca Street

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